Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 6

Voltage Controlled Oscillator Usage of

VCO, Working and Application

by Tarun Agarwal at


0 Comment

What is Voltage Controlled Oscillator?

A Voltage controlled oscillator is an oscillator with an output signal whose output can be varied
over a range, which is controlled by the input DC voltage. It is an oscillator whose output
frequency is directly related to the voltage at its input. The oscillation frequency varies from few
hertz to hundreds of GHz. By varying the input DC voltage, the output frequency of the signal
produced is adjusted.

2 Types of Voltage Controlled Oscillators

Harmonic Oscillators: The output is a signal with sinusoidal waveform. Examples are
crystal oscillators and tank oscillators
Relaxation Oscillators: The output is a signal with saw tooth or triangular waveform and
provides a wide range of operational frequencies. The output frequency depends on the
time of charging and discharging of the capacitor.

Basic Working principle of Sawtooth waveform generator VCO

For a Voltage controlled oscillator generating a saw tooth waveform, the main component is the
capacitor whos charging and discharging actually decides the formation of the output waveform.
The input is given in form a voltage which can be controlled. This voltage is converted to a
current signal and is applied to the capacitor. As the current passes through the capacitor, it starts
charging and a voltage starts building across it. As the capacitor charges and the voltage across it
increases gradually, the voltage is compared with a reference voltage using a comparator.
When the capacitor voltage exceeds the reference voltage, the comparator generates a high logic
output which triggers the transistor and the capacitor is connected to ground and starts
discharging. Thus the output waveform generated is the representation of the charging and
discharging of the capacitor and the frequency is controlled by the input dc voltage.

Applications of VCO

Electronic jamming equipment.

Function generator.
Production of electronic music, for production of different types of noise.
Phase locked loop.
Frequency synthesizers, used in communication circuits.

A Practical VCO LM566

A practical example of a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) is the LM566. The LM566 is a
general purpose VCO which may be used to generate square wave and triangular waveforms as a
function input voltage.

The LM566 is specified for operation over 0C to 70C temperature range. The frequency of
which is a linear function of a controlling voltage. The frequency is also controlled by an
external resistor and capacitor, whose values control the free running frequency.

Pin Description:

Pin 1: Ground (GND)

Pin 2: No connection (NC)
Pin 3: Square wave output
Pin 4: Triangular wave output
Pin 5: Modulation input
Pin 6: Timing resistor
Pin 7: Timing capacitor
Pin 8: Vcc

The maximum operating voltage is 10V to 24V
High temperature stability
Operating temperature is 0C to 70C
The frequency can be controlled by means of current, voltage, resistor or capacitor
Power dissipation is 300mV
Excellent power supply rejection


Function generator
Tone generator
FM modulation
Frequency shift keying
Clock generator

Working of LM566:

Figure shows that the LM566 IC contains current sources to charge and discharge an external
capacitor at a rate set by an external resistor R1 and the modulating dc input voltage V.

A 0.001F capacitor is connected to pin 5 and pin 6. A Schmitt trigger circuit is used to switch
the current sources between charging and discharging the capacitor and the triangular voltage
produced across the capacitor and square wave from the Schmitt trigger are provided as outputs
through buffer amplifiers. Both the output waveforms are buffered so that the output impedance
of each is 50 f2. The typical magnitude of the triangular wave and the square wave are 2.4Vpeak
to peak and 5.4Vpeak to peak. The free running or center-operating frequency, f0 is

Application of VCO Phase Locked Loop

What is Phase Locked Loop?

It is an electronic circuit which is used to lock the output frequency of the voltage controlled
oscillator with the desired input frequency by constantly comparing the phase of the input
frequency with that of the output frequency of the VCO. The PLL is used to generate a signal,
modulate or demodulate it. They are mainly used in Frequency modulation and Amplitude
modulation. Basically the output frequency of the voltage controlled oscillator is constantly
adjusted until it matches with the input frequency.

How does a Phase Locked Loop works?

In the above block diagram, the PD or Phase detector compares the output frequency with the
input reference frequency. Incase of any mismatch, the phase detector generates an error signal
which is filtered using a low pass filter to remove the noise and this signal is applied to the
Voltage controlled Oscillator to accordingly generate the output frequency. This output
frequency is given to the phase detector through a divide by N counter which divides the output
frequency by a certain number N.

A Practical application of PLL Tone Decoder using LM567

The LM567 is a tone decoder. It is intended to give a saturated transistor switch to ground when
the input signal is available. It consists of a voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO) and the phase
detector. A voltage-controlled oscillator is to verify the center frequency of the decoder. External
components are used to set the center frequency, bandwidth and output delay.
The phase detector and VCO form a phase-locked loop (PLL), when the PLL is locked and the
input signal amplitude exceeds an internally pre-set threshold, a switch to ground is activated on
the output.


20 to 1 frequency range with an external resistor

Logic compatible output with 100mA current sinking capability
Adjustable bandwidth
High rejection of out of band signals and noise
Immunity to false signals
High center frequency (0.01 Hz to 500 kHz)

The LM567 PLL tone decoder has many applications; they are touch tone decoding, precision
oscillator, frequency monitoring and control, wide band FSK demodulation, ultrasonic controls,
carrier current remote controls and communications paging decoders.

Working of LM567 PLL Tone Decoder:

The LM567 is operated at supply voltages of 2V to 9V and at input frequencies ranging from 1
Hz up to 500 kHz. The oscillator timing capacitor Ct must be divided into two to double the
oscillator frequency relative to the input frequency and filter capacitors C1 and C2 must be
reduced to maintain the same filter time constants. When the PLL is locked then the output pin 8
is switch to ground and activate. There is no additional supply current is required to activate the
switch. And the ON resistance of the switch is inversely proportional to supply. The input has
sufficient amplitude to cause pin1 to fall below 2/3 Vs.

I hope you have got an idea about the voltage controlled oscillator from the above article so if
you have any queries about this concept or on the electrical and electronic projects leave the
comments section below.